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Food: Ridley’s – a temporary dining experience in Dalston

Opened just last week in the heart of Dalston, East London, Ridley’s is a temporary dining experience where locals can exchange market produce for a meal.

Envisaged by London design collective, The Decorators and architecture practice, Atelier ChanChan, the pop-up, outdoor, two-storey restaurant will feature a communal dining table, seating 40 people, set high above the market to encourage a jovial atmosphere among diners and an exchange of ideas.  Meanwhile, on the lower level, guest chefs will curate menu’s using only market produce.

Visually emphasizing the transformation of raw food into a cooked meal, prepared food will be hoisted up from the ground floor to the raised platform table by a mechanical system.

Additionally, market shoppers will be able to view diners as they eat, and vice versa, as the structure is made from scaffolding and completely open-plan; making for very interesting market scenes at this infamous local food bazaar.

“At Ridley’s we’re using food as a driver to create links with our community. We see this project as a theater play that will unfold spontaneously over the course of three weeks. We’ve designed the restaurant as a scenario where different actors – chefs, designers, afro-tango dancers, market traders – will come into play and contribute for what will hopefully become a collaborative stage to celebrate exchange,” explains Mariana Pestana from The Decorators, on the new dining project.

We have recently seen a similar project with the Folly For a Flyover creative space, this summer – both projects celebrate the vibrant culture and community spirit sometimes hidden and unnoticed within our urban city dwellings, while showcasing more creative and intelligent ways for building and living.

As Dalston undergoes rapid transformation with regeneration and investment in the area over the next few years, the Ridley’s installation hopes to demonstrate a more sustainable means for buying and selling food, and also stands as a colorful alternative for generic, or bland architecture that could, and has already started to, engulf the area.

For lunch, diners simply buy produce from the market and barter for meals to be prepared and cooked-up, while an evenings dinner will cost £15 and includes a £5 food-shopping voucher for use at the market.  Ridley’s will run for another three weeks. – Samantha Fox

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